Lisa Beymer, University Professor, Special Education Teacher
I would echo this thought from The Institute for the Redesign of Learning above: "The answer should be 'yes', since most recently credentialed teachers must take at least one course on teaching students with special needs. The reality is a bit different, however, and it really seems to depend on the training of the teacher, the educational philosophy of that teacher, and how adaptable the teacher is."
Currently working in the University setting for a Teacher Preparation Program (TPP) that was recently ranked in the top 5% of the nation, I can tell you that TPPs are providing little direct training for general education teacher candidates on how to teach students with disabilities. Our candidates, for example, are only required to take 1 course throughout their 4-year study (Introduction to Students with Disabilities). Otherwise, their time in the TPP is set up very much like The Institute described above - focused on differentiation, adaptations, modifications, and the like (that usually can also be applied to students who are English Language Learners). The TPP works very hard to develop these skills in the candidates, but candidates do not necessarily receive specific training in the nitty-gritty details of instruction, support, or advocacy for students with disabilities. Their time working in the classroom with students with disabilities in minimal throughout their program, until they are in their full-time student teaching.
One of the most important characteristics to look for in a teacher who is preparing to support students with disabilities is their willingness. Their attitude and desire for improvement can take charge! There are endless resources (many for free) for general education teachers who are looking to learn more about supporting students with disabilities. This willing teacher will be present for every student meeting, patient in communicating with parents about their child, active in seeking out the special education teacher for support and suggestions, and ready to adapt their instruction and classroom environment to support all students.
(Special education teachers are required to be certified in special education in order to teach full-time. With the low retention rates and high demand for special education teachers, this is unfortunately not always the reality; teachers without special education teacher certification are hired with the understanding that they are at least seeking certification. It is a perpetuating, and discouraging, issue.)